Friday, January 26, 2007

More than the Economists' Issue

Read this over dinner, from today's New York Times aricle titled "Is Income Inequality Really a Problem?":

"Moreover, it’s not as easy to redistribute income as it may appear. In 1993, Bill Clinton and a Democratic Congress thought they were striking a blow against inequality by limiting the tax deductibility of executive salaries in excess of $1 million per year. The result was that executive compensation shifted toward incentive-based pay such as stock options, which were exempted from the restriction. The ironic result was to make corporate executives far richer than they otherwise would have been had they continued to receive most of their compensation in the form of big salaries. The S.E.C. chairman, Christopher Cox, recently remarked that this tax provision deserves a place of pride in the “Museum of Unintended Consequences.”


Then the concluding paragraph:

"Perhaps a better way of addressing the issue might be to ridicule the excesses of those with great wealth the way gossip columns and Web sites make fun of “celebrities” like Paris Hilton. It could be a better way of encouraging the wealthy to engage in socially beneficial activities, such as donating funds to poverty relief, instead of buying yachts and jewels."

Sounds sarcastic huh? But is there a better solution out there?

Ridiculing the rich and putting a gentle pat on their shoulder, hoping that they could possibly step out of their very comfort zone and care for the have-not's? Is that even a sustainable solution?

It seems to me, it's no longer an economic/political issue but an issue entering the ground of morality. We need more than just economists and politicians who speak.

梅ちゃん at 8:53:00 AM



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